Research

Job Market Paper

High-Speed Internet and Price Elasticities (Job Market Paper)

I test for generalizable lessons in how high-speed internet shapes consumer price sensitivity. High-speed internet provides consumers with both price and non-price information, making the net effect on price sensitivity ambiguous. Using scanner data for 504 product categories, I exploit the differential rise of high-speed internet across counties to measure how local internet adoption affects local price sensitivity. I find that the effect of high-speed internet on consumer price sensitivity is highly category-specific: across categories, the median effect of a 10 percentage point increase in internet penetration on the price elasticity of demand is 0.005, but the 5th and 95th quantiles are -0.038 and 0.056. I confirm the robustness of my findings in several ways: I show that they are likely not driven by measurement error, consumer demographic changes, or selection into online shopping; I also support the validity of my results by comparing to external estimates in the literature for wine categories. Hence, while there are no cross-category generalizations, for any specific category, the effect might be substantial. These results support the increased use of niche product development, targeting, and pricing.

Publication

Balaban, Rita, Donna Gilleskie, and Uyen Tran. “A quantitative evaluation of the flipped classroom in a large lecture principles of economics course.” The Journal of Economic Education 47, no. 4 (2016): 269-287. DOI: 10.1080/00220485.2016.1213679

Working Papers

“Information Technology Effects on Advertising” with Ningyin Xu

We use variation in the growth of broadband to study how the rise of information technology has shaped advertising. From 2010 to 2019, broadband rates increased from 70% to 80%. At the same time, TV advertising remained steady while spending as a proportion of advertising has decreased in other channels.  Our results show that a 10 percentage point increase in broadband increases spending in offline advertising in that DMA by approximately 1.2%. Similarly, a 10 percentage point increase in broadband increases spending in TV advertising in that DMA by approximately 1.1%. We show that broadband decreases print advertising in most DMAs.

 

“The Rise of Private Label” with Guenter Hitsch

We highlight two findings: a convergence in household PL share purchases and divergence in retailer channel PL share sales. Our first finding is that households have converged in their PL purchases. That is, households with the lowest initial PL consumption in 2004 saw the sharpest rise from 2004-2018. Our second finding is that channels have diverged in their PL sales. We decompose the overall aggregate trend by retailer channel to reveal that private labels purchases are not growing uniformly across retailer types. 

 

“Does Information Mitigate Behavioral Gaps Due to Market Inexperience” with Forrest Spence

We collect detailed individual level purchasing and search data on 2,449 consumers in the UNC-Chapel Hill textbook market. A random subset of these consumers were provided with information about the price of their assigned textbook from various retailers before the semester began. We use these data to compare the search and purchasing outcomes of consumers who received information from their instructors (treatment group) with outcomes of consumers who did not receive this information (control group). We find that (i) information leads to more online search and online purchases, (ii) the informational treatment reduces the gap in online search and purchasing behavior between consumers across experience levels, and (iii) the treatment increases take-up of the textbook at the extensive margin.